THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Gerald F. Degrand
Issue Date: October 25, 2018
Gerald F. Degrand, 98, of St. Paul, Mn., formerly of Marinette, passed away Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 in St. Paul.
Born May 4, 1920, to the late Joseph and Marie (Villemure) DeGrand in Escanaba, Mi., he attended St. Ann's Catholic School until eighth grade and then attended and graduated from Escanaba Public High School. He obtained a private pilot's license in 1940 and commercial pilot's license and flight instructor's certificate in 1943.
He served in the United States Air Corp from Oct. 14, 1942 in the inactive reserve until called to duty on Oct. 2, 1943. He then served with the United States Army Air Corps during World War II until March 13, 1946.
After service, he moved to the Marinette Menominee area and formed M&M Aviation Inc. with some of his former Army Air Corps colleagues, where he was employed as a flight instructor and Secretary of M&M Aviation Inc. He had an acrobat pilot's license and put on many flying exhibitions and air shows in the area.
On June 21, 1947, he married Gloria Piquette in Marinette and she preceded him in death on Aug. 8, 2016. He then worked at Beechcraft Aircraft Corporation as an Executive Pilot based in Wichita, Ks.
They moved to St. Paul, Mn. in 1955 where he worked for North Central Airlines as a Mechanic for a short time and then as an Aviation Systems Engineer from 1955 until retiring Nov. 1, 1981 from Republic Airlines.
He served two terms as President of Northliner Airline Employee Credit Union, was a member of the Twin Cities Airline Management Assoc., Twin Cities Toastmasters Club, Republic Airline Retirement Club and Beachwood Golf Club.
He enjoyed deer hunting, fishing, golfing, boating, cross country skiing and computers in later years. He participated in many of those activities until shortly before his passing.
He is survived by a son, Joseph DeGrand of St. Paul, Mn. and a granddaughter of New Bedford Ma.
In addition to his parents and wife, Gloria, he was preceded in death by seven siblings, Ralph, Elaine, Francis, Donald, Celeste, Robert and Charles.
Visitation was held at Holy Family Parish- St. Joseph Church on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 9 a.m. until time of a Funeral Mass at 10 a.m. Fr. Celestine Byekwaso officiated with entombment in Forest Home Mausoleum. Thielen Funeral Home of Marinette assisted the family with arrangements.